Outdoor School, Outer Range, opens campus to public on December 9

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Kate Donohoe

One of two yurts built thus far on MCSD’s Outer Range campus.

Kate Donohoe, News Reporter

Montrose County School District’s up-and-coming outdoor school, Outer Range, is beginning to create facilities and programs aimed at fostering a love for learning and the outdoors in Montrose youth.

With ten acres to be utilized, two yurts and three tipis have been built thus far, along with a fire pit, coves and secluded areas in the trees, and a connection circle space made of rocks donated by Montrose County.

“We have plans for a treenet (similar to a hammock) in our grove of Elm trees. We also have plans to build a forest preschool on campus,” Program Coordinator Kiersten Brown said.

The school hopes to have the preschool running by fall of 2022 along with a high school cohort. The creation of the preschool will begin the school’s plans to expand into a K-12 pathway into graduate and career opportunities in the next few years.

“Outer Range isn’t one school or serving one group of students, it is here to support all 6,000 students and 12 schools, and our entire community, during school, after school, on weekends, and through summer programs,” Program Manager Keely Vaughan said.

To register for any of the programs currently offered at Outer Range, contact Keely Vaughan at [email protected], or Kiersten Brown at [email protected]

Currently, Outer Range offers programs and experiences after school and on weekends. Upcoming programs include Geocaching and snowshoeing for elementary schoolers, snow fort building for middle schoolers, students as _____ for high schoolers, and visual storytelling for all ages.

“Students as _____” will be an eight week program this spring in which high school students will have the opportunity to work with professionals in a field of interest and work with the Montrose community and natural environment to complete a project.

“[Outer Range] is a manifestation of the energy, ideas, and heart that exude from our young people, and we are incredibly grateful to our community for their support and efforts in bringing these ideas to life,” Vaughan said.

December 9 will be the official open house and ribbon cutting ceremony open to all. The campus, located at 930 Colorado Avenue next to the MCSD administration building, will be open for tours from 12:30 – 3:30pm, with formal ceremonies and celebrations following from 4:30 – 6:30pm. Food and entertainment will be provided.